Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech capped the DNC's star-studded miniseries

Key moments in Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech
Key moments in Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech

Hillary Clinton would probably be the first to admit that she can't match President Obama's soaring oratory, or her husband's communication gifts. And she didn't rise to that level in her acceptance speech on Thursday.

Yet the high bar those speakers set earlier in the week in a way reduced pressure on the Democratic nominee, who delivered a well-crafted address filled with pithy phrases and couched in simple language. That helped offset her at-times stiff delivery and protest interruptions that were quickly drowned out, albeit awkwardly, by chants of "Hillary."

In a way, this was a speech tailor-made to the modern digital age, one that will likely play better -- and have more legs -- diced into bits, consumed over the next few days and repurposed in attack ads.

Always wary of media bias, Republicans complained even before Clinton spoke about a disparity in the time that the broadcast networks devoted to the two conventions. But if Donald Trump is supposed to be the savvy TV star in this race, Clinton's team put on the better show.

Viewed objectively, the Democratic National Convention offered more star power, of both the political (the President, Vice President, First Lady, former President Clinton) and show-business variety. Indeed, while Democrats frequently draw criticism and derision for their preoccupation with Hollywood, and vice versa, at this gathering they fully embraced such luminaries.

Clinton's presentation also suggested that she and her writers had absorbed the GOP convention, looking for ways to take every word Trump said and turn it against him.

Related: Donald Trump loses battle with Teleprompter in GOP acceptance speech

At times, she virtually scolded her rival, using humor to emphasize those points. Other portions of the speech were boiled down into easily digestible rhetorical bites, whether courting Bernie Sanders supporters ("Your cause is our cause") or punctuating a series of policy positions with the line, "Join us."

The protests did have an impact. Clinton actually began in measured tones, but the modulation of her voice occasionally had to rise to offset the noise within the arena, however muted it sounded on television.

Inevitably, Clinton also endeavored to humanize herself, talking about her discomfort with the "public" aspect of public service, and delving into her family history.

In that regard, like Trump, the candidate benefited from her daughter's introduction, especially Chelsea Clinton's lump-in-the-throat line, "Grandma would be so proud of you tonight," referring to Clinton's late mother.

During the run-up to the speech, MSNBC's Joy Reid defined the tonal difference between this month's Democratic and Republican events by saying, "The Republican Party sort of is pining for the America that was, and the Democrats fully embrace and adore the America that is."

During the analysis before and after, the pundits weren't wrong when they described Clinton's speech, repeatedly, as "the most important" in her life, or when CNN's David Axelrod said, "Giving a speech like this is not her strength."

With the benefit of having followed Trump's convention, though, Clinton did lay out a blueprint for the campaign to come. And in TV terms, Thursday was really both the finish of the star-studded miniseries that the Democrats had produced, and the kickoff to the series that follows.


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